St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke could run into cross-ownership issues if he prevails as the winning bidder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, in light of a report earlier this week issued by NFL.com stating he was one of three finalists.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting that if Kroenke is the winning bid, the league would meet immediately with its members to see if cross-ownership rules are violated.
I have told Commissioner Selig this, if [Kroenke] is ultimately the winning bid, then we would immediately move with our committees and our membership to have the discussion, Goodell said according to Pro Football Talk. So we would move as quickly as possible knowing that it is an important issue for baseball.
NFL cross-ownership rules permit an owner to own separate teams in other sports leagues if the team is in his or her own NFL market or if it's in a non-NFL market. While Los Angeles does not have an NFL team as of now, Goodell said Monday the league does consider it an NFL market.
This could potentially set Kroenke up to be in violation of cross-ownership rules unless he moves the St. Louis Rams back West to Los Angeles, putting the team in the same market as the Dodgers.
The Rams' owner has a history of reaching a cross-ownership deal with the NFL, as he owns the Denver Nuggets in the NBA and Colorado Avalanche in the NHL.
Although Kroenke could stand on solid ground arguing that since there is no NFL team in Los Angeles he should be able to purchase the Dodgers.
Kroenke's interest in the Dodgers has St. Louis fans confused; they are already on the edge about a move back to Los Angeles with the team's current lease agreement up in the air.
Will the Rams end up back in Los Angeles?
The Rams rejected the initial proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome submitted by the St. Louis Convention and Visitor's Commission (CVC) earlier this month. The plan outlined $124 million in stadium improvements, with more than 50 percent being funded by the Rams.
The Rams are expected to make a counter-offer by May 1.
Goodell has recently said via STL Today the NFL wants the Rams to stay in St. Louis; however, it's up to the city and team to solve the lease issue.
Even if Kroenke fails in his bid for the Dodgers, expect unrest in St. Louis until the lease issue is resolved.
Fans may still wonder if Kroenke has the ultimate goal of moving back to Los Angeles since he knew of cross-ownership hurdles before he pursued the Dodgers. They may ask if the owner was never concerned with the matter, since Los Angeles has been the goal for the Rams the whole time.
Besides Kroenke, other finalists for the Dodgers include a group led by Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson and a group led by billionaire Steven Cohen (via the LA Times).